Daily Archives: January 3, 2020

January—3 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

He showed unto them his hands and his side.—John 20:20.

My Lord and my God! I would say, while thou openest to me such a view, and while I would look into and read thine heart in it. And what was such a display designed for, dearest Lord? I think thou hast taught me to discover. Was it not as if Jesus had said, “See here the marks of your sure redemption. From hence issued the blood that hath cleansed you from all sin. And this blood hath a voice. It is speaking blood, which speaketh better things than that of Abel. For his blood cried for vengeance, mine for pardon. It speaketh for thee to my Father of his covenant promises. And it speaketh to thee from my Father of thy sure acceptance in my salvation.”—Neither was this all. For surely, dearest Jesus, when thou showedst thine hands and thy side, it was also as if thou hadst said, “See here an opening to my heart. Here put in all you wish to tell my Father, and I will bear it to him with all my warmest affections. And let all my disciples, in every age of my Church, do this. I will be the bearer of all their suits. And sure they may be, both of my love and of my success for them; for I will carry all that concerns them in this opening to my heart.” Precious Lord! cause me often to view with the eye of faith this gracious interview of thine with thy disciples. And as in the evening of the day, the disciples were thus favoured with thy presence, and so rich a manifestation of thy love, so, Lord, make me to realize the scene afresh, and very often in the silence of the night may my soul be going forth in the full enjoyment of this spiritual blessing! Yea, Jesus! let me behold thine hands and thy side, and learn day by day to put therein all I would tell my God and Father of thy great salvation, and my firm reliance upon it; until from a life of faith I come to enter upon a life of absolute enjoyment, and behold thee still as the Lamb that hath been slain for the redemption of thy people, in the midst of the throne, leading the church to living fountains of waters, where all tears are wiped away from all eyes.[1]

 

[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, p. 5). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

January 3 Streams in the Desert

I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure.” (Gen. 33:14)

WHAT a beautiful picture of Jacob’s thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, “I will lead on softly.” “For ye have not passed this way heretofore.” (Josh. 3:4.)

We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through—Jesus has gone through it all before us. “He was wearied with his journey.” Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. “He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all.—Frances Ridley Havergal.

In “pastures green”? Not always; sometimes He

Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me

In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.

So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair

I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where

The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.

Barry.[1]

 

[1] Cowman, L. B. (1925). Streams in the Desert (pp. 3–4). Los Angeles, CA: The Oriental Missionary Society.

Our Best Life is Yet to Come — Unfathomable Grace

Genesis 12:1-3     Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”



God called Abram from his idolatry and into communion with Himself
. God revealed himself, and from that point Abram began building altars and calling upon the name of the Lord.

God called Abram to receive an eternally blessed future. Someday, he would enjoy the land of promise. Someday, he would be part of one fantastic kingdom. Someday, his name and family line would be famous. Someday, he would participate in blessing all the nations. He would be victorious, and those who were found opposing his clan, they were destined to be cursed.

Abram never received this in his own life. No person or nation has received this promise in its entirety yet. How fantastic it will be in the New Heavens and New Earth when all Abram’s elect, redeemed, converted, and multiethnic children will forever enjoy the Kingdom of Christ in its final installment.

God called Abram experience many struggles and difficulties. However, until the time when God would ultimately fulfill his promise, Abram would encounter many struggles. Following the leading of his Lord, Abram and his covenant family would experience:

  • Leaving his homeland
  • Separating from family members
  • Lacking knowledge of exactly where he was headed
  • Physical disabilities
  • Personal failure of faith
  • Personal abuse of Sarah
  • Personal disbelief of God’s truthfulness
  • Internal family strife
  • War between clans
  • Strife between children
  • Future enslavement of his family for 400 years

For many who are in Christ Jesus, a multitude of delights are enjoyed on this earth. For some reason, God makes life on this earth relatively easy for some.  How fantastic it is to be blessed by God with health, wealth, community, peace, and prosperity.

For many who are in Christ Jesus, a multitude of sorrows are “unenjoyed” on this earth. For some reason, God makes life on this earth relatively hellish for some as they are blessed with sickness, poverty, loneliness, strife, and plight.

photo-1536960242068-96914a09214cTherefore friends, think it not strange that while coming to know Jesus as your Savior, learning from his Word, following the leading of the Holy Spirit, enjoying his spiritual benefits, experiencing some temporal prosperity, and waiting for the fulfillment of the fantastic promises of God, you greatly struggle and suffer.

Such was the reality of Father Abraham.

Such was the reality of his greatest Son — Jesus Christ,.

Such was the reality of countless Christians throughout the centuries.

Such is the reality of brothers and sisters in the U.S. and abroad.

Friends, enjoy Jesus and all his benefits today, but keep your eye on the horizon. Our best life is yet to come.

via Our Best Life is Yet to Come — Unfathomable Grace

January 3 Life-Changing Moments With God

He led them forth by the right way.

 

In the wasteland, a howling wilderness, You encircled Jacob, You instructed him, You kept him as the apple of Your eye. As an eagle … hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so You alone, Lord, led him. Even to my old age, You are He, and even to gray hairs You will carry me! You have made, and You will bear; even You will carry, and will deliver me.

You restore my soul; You lead me in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You, Lord, will guide me continually, and satisfy my soul in drought, and strengthen my bones; I shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. For this is God, my God forever and ever; You will be my guide even to death. None teaches like You!

I face so many decisions—big and little—in the course of the day, Lord. Enable me to keep my eyes on You, who will lead me exactly where You want me to go.

Psalm 107:7; Deuteronomy 32:10–12; Isaiah 46:4; Psalm 23:3–4; Isaiah 58:11; Psalm 48:14; Job 36:22[1]

 

[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 12). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

The death of Qassem Soleimani: What it means, what comes next, and how Christians can respond — Denison Forum

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The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps was killed early Friday in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport authorized by President Trump. An American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy leaving the airport, killing Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper explained the action: “General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.

“He had orchestrated attacks on coalition bases in Iraq over the last several months—including the attack on December 27th—culminating in the death and wounding of additional American and Iraqi personnel. General Soleimani also approved the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad that took place this week.”

Who was Qassem Soleimani? 

Qassem Soleimani was an Iranian Major General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Since 1998, he commanded the Quds force responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deemed Soleimani equally as dangerous as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In April 2019, the State Department announced that Iran was responsible for killing 608 American troops during the Iraq War. They determined that 17 percent of all US personnel deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011 were orchestrated by Soleimani.

A BBC analyst notes that Soleimani was seen as “the mastermind behind Iran’s vast ambition in the Middle East, and the country’s real foreign minister when it came to matters of war and peace.” Soleimani was “widely considered a principal architect of President Bashar al-Assad’s war in Syria, the ongoing conflict in Iraq, the fight against Islamic State, and many battles beyond.”

According to CNN, the significance of Soleimani’s death “cannot be overstated.” An analyst for MSNBC calls him “the world’s number one bad guy.” He states that the killing of Soleimani “means much more in terms of saving current lives” than even the deaths of Osama bin Laden and ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

What led to the attack? 

In June 2019, the Iranians shot down an American surveillance drone. Three months later, a barrage of missiles and drones targeted two of the world’s most important oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Last Friday, the US blamed an Iranian-backed militia for an attack that killed a US contractor and wounded four US service members. On Sunday, the US carried out airstrikes that were said to have killed at least twenty-five militia members. Demonstrators, including members of that Iranian-backed militia, then stormed the US Embassy compound in Baghdad. Gen. Soleimani reportedly orchestrated these militia activities.

Last Tuesday, the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division was told to plan for possible deployment to Kuwait, placing as many as four thousand troops on standby. Soldiers from this division arrived in Kuwait hours before the airstrike that killed Gen. Soleimani.

What comes next? 

The New York Times calls Soleimani’s death “a staggering blow for Iran at a time of sweeping geopolitical conflict” and “a serious escalation of Mr. Trump’s growing confrontation with Tehran.” The Washington Examiner describes Soleimani’s death as “a monumental event and great news for the United States and the countless victims of his strategy that has unleashed death and chaos throughout the Middle East.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the US after the airstrike. The US has urged its citizens to leave Iraq “immediately.” CNN speculates that American forces in Syria and its allies in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia could “fall victim to Iranian retaliatory measures.” The Associated Press adds that Iran’s allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and Gaza could be mobilized.

The Washington Examiner states that “a global terrorist campaign of uncertain duration is likely. In the context of Iranian domestic political instability and deep economic pressures on the regime, Iran might also use this killing as an excuse to destabilize oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz. Each of those developments would require immediate American deterrent response.”

The path to true peace 

The future is known to no one but God (cf. Isaiah 46:10). Our responsibility as God’s people is to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–2) and to work for both justice (Amos 5:24) and peace (Matthew 5:9) while seeking to lead all people to the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

As C. S. Lewis notes, “God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”

We cannot give the world what we do not have. In these tremulous times, our peace can be a powerful witness to a skeptical culture. Here’s the path to such peace: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

No matter what is happening in the world, in every circumstance and challenge we can have the “peace of God” today.

Do you?

NOTE: Are you a pastor or church leader? Our new ministry of support and encouragement for you will offer free resources and a monthly teleconference with Pastor Mark Turman and me. A Pastor’s View launches on Tuesday, Jan. 7. To join our email list, I invite you to subscribe to A Pastor’s View here.

 

via The death of Qassem Soleimani: What it means, what comes next, and how Christians can respond — Denison Forum

Understanding Three Phases of Salvation — Counseling One Another

In order to know where you are in the Christian life you need to know where you have been and where you are going. To make progress in Christ you need to understand the three phases of salvation.

If you want to make measurable progress in Christ in 2020 take time to listen to last Sunday’s sermon, Understanding the Three Phases of Salvation.

via Understanding Three Phases of Salvation — Counseling One Another

Why Are Progressive Christians Attracted to Universalism? How a Distorted View of God Distorts Our View of Good — Credo Magazine

The new issue of Credo Magazine focuses on the question, “Will all be saved?” The following is an excerpt from Scott Smith’s article, “Why Are Progressive Christians Attracted to Universalism? How a Distorted View of God Distorts Our View of Good?” Scott Smith received his Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics from the University of Southern California and serves as a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University. He is the author of Authentically Emergent: In Search of a Truly Progressive Christianity (Cascade Books, 2018), and other books and essay. Smith has written extensively on the truth claims of the emergent church movement.


Why does it seem progressive Christians are drawn to a universal salvation for all people? There could be several reasons, such as religious pluralism, on which everyone has their own interpretations of God (or, “religious reality”). The key to “salvation” on such a view is moral transformation, which is possible in all the world religions.

Still, there could be other reasons for this attraction. It might be a reaction against evangelicals’ exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to God, which might strike some progressives as imperialistic. In addition, it might be due to shifts in their views of the nature of what is real regarding human beings, sin, our core need, and more.

Now, all these positions are involved with a particular group of progressives who used to be called “emergents,” namely, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Rob Bell. Since the emerging church faded from evangelicals’ attention, their influence has morphed and actually grown. They now have greater platforms for communicating their views.[1] Moreover, they have embraced being progressives. I think their views can provide an example for us of why progressives are attracted to universalism.

To help explore this question, first I will sketch some of their newer, pertinent views that illustrate how they fit with universalism. These positions will include not only their epistemological views, but also, even more importantly, their shifts away from traditional, orthodox Christian positions of the nature of what is real to a holistic, panentheistic view of God and His creation.[2] Second, I will assess selected views, offering some suggestions for how to respond to these points.[3]

Emergents 2.0

McLaren and these former emergents argue that everyone has a particular standpoint from which they come to interpret and know the world. Moreover, we are shaped, or “situated,” so deeply by our cultural and familial upbringing, life experiences, historical location, and more that we cannot gain a universal, unbiased viewpoint and know reality as it truly is, even about the truth of Christianity. Instead, all people interpret what is real from their respective interpretive “grids.”

Religiously, then, Christians, as well as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and everyone else have their own interpretations of God (or, “religious reality”), and no one has direct access to the truth (i.e., the way things really are) religiously. This view is much like that of John Hick, one of the founders of religious pluralism.[4] Though religions have their various interpretations, still, for Hick all religions aim at moral transformation, and so he redefines salvation as such. However, he claims Christians do not exhibit superior moral lives than that of other religious adherents. Thus, “salvation” is available in all the world religions.

For McLaren, moral transformation occurs as people live out Jesus’ story. As such, “salvation” is not limited to just those who identify as Christians. There can be Muslims, Jews, and Christians throwing a party in heaven; there can be Buddhist Christians; and more.[5]

In A New Kind of Christianity, Brian McLaren also claims the gospel we have received has been corrupted by Greco-Roman and modern influences.[6] One corrupting factor is the adoption of many dualisms, such as body vs. soul, heaven vs. hell, saved vs. unsaved, civilized vs. barbarians, and many more. According to him, Greek thinking introduced these many dualisms, and particularly body-soul dualism undermines what he sees as the Jewish emphasis upon the unity of the whole person.[7]

For McLaren, many Christians’ emphasis upon saving the soul so it goes to heaven when the body dies is linked to the (supposed) Platonic emphasis of the inherent superiority of the immaterial over the material.[8] However, these attitudes denigrate the body as God’s good creation, implicitly treating it as bad. Moreover, he thinks souls are static and therefore cannot grow, change, or have stories told about them.[9]

Instead of humans being a unity of body and soul (i.e., material and immaterial), McLaren and others adopt a holistic, physicalist view of humans. On this view, humans are made of one kind of thing, namely, physical stuff.[10] Instead of an essential nature (the soul) uniting all our parts, now our unity is found in our narrative, which is to be shaped according to the master story of the Christian community, the story of Jesus.[11] Unlike souls, our stories develop as we become more like Christ.

If humans are just physical beings, then several other core doctrines would seem to need to be changed. For instance, sin cannot be fundamentally a soulish problem that corrupts the entire person. Now, the Bible speaks of the heart (the core of our being; that from which we truly live, will, and more) as more deceitful than all else and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9). Moreover, the wages of sin is death, i.e., separation from God, and eventually physical death (Rom. 6:23). However, as Pagitt explains, sin is a matter of disintegration of relationships, of ourselves in relation to one another, creation, and God. For him and others, original sin is a mistaken doctrine.[12] It is not that sin separates us from God; instead, we are already “in” God.

*Read Dr. Smith’s entire article in the latest issue: Will all be Saved?

via Why Are Progressive Christians Attracted to Universalism? How a Distorted View of God Distorts Our View of Good — Credo Magazine

S&P 500 Index Tests Long-Term Fibonacci Price Extension As New Year Begins — Kimble Charting Solutions

Is the bull market getting long in the tooth?

Could the S&P 500 Index rally be nearing an end?

Okay now that we have the bears attention, let’s face the facts: This is a bull market (until proven otherwise). And the bull market isn’t going anywhere until we see trend lines break down.

With that being said, the stock market rally is nearing an important price juncture.

The S&P 500 is testing a key Fibonacci extension price level at 3252.

This Fibonacci extension level comes from the 2018/2019 weekly closing highs and lows. A breakout above this level on a weekly basis will send a bullish message to the market, while a stalling out near this level will signal that this bull is taking a rest. Only a break down below the up-trend line will signal caution. Stay tuned!

This article was first written for See It Markets.com. To see original post CLICK HERE

via S&P 500 Index Tests Long-Term Fibonacci Price Extension As New Year Begins — Kimble Charting Solutions

MIke Huckabee talks Beth Moore, Christianity Today & Elite Evangelicals — Capstone Report

Southern Baptist Mike Huckabee wants Never Trump Evangelical Elites to explain which Democrat would be superior to Donald Trump.

Mike Huckabee challenged Never Trump Evangelical Elites to explain which Democrat presidential candidate in 2016 or 2020 would be superior to Donald Trump. He appeared on the Todd Starnes Radio Show and answered a question about Never Trumpers Beth Moore and Mark Galli of Christianity Today. Huckabee replied in strong terms.

“I want him to name which of the Democrat candidates he would’ve preferred to be in the White House and to tell me how moral Hillary Clinton is….be sure to explain to me the morality of some of the other Democrats. Why they are somehow morally superior because I must’ve missed that.”

To make the point clearly: “They are not choir boys and choir girls,” Huckabee said of the Democratic field of presidential candidates.

Huckabee knows that is a powerful critique of the triteness of the Never Trump position. Embracing Never Trumpism would result in even more abortions and reduced religious liberty. So, why are these so-called evangelicals working against good policies and furthering evil?

Also, Huckabee explained why average evangelical Christians support Donald Trump and refuse to follow Never Trump Elite Evangelicals.

“I think for most of us as evangelicals, we don’t follow Donald Trump—we follow Jesus,” Huckabee said. “We elect a President. And we kind of like one who respects religious liberty and certainly that honors the sanctity of every human life…and supports Israel.”

Huckabee defended President Trump’s decisive action to protect American lives

Huckabee praised the decisive action of Donald Trump and the Trump Administration for eliminating a dangerous terrorist. Huckabee praised Trump’s strong move to stop aggressive action against the US and its embassies.

Huckabee addressed the anti-American sentiment coming out of the Democratic Party following Trump’s move against terrorists.

Of the Democratic Squad, Huckabee said their attacks on the president aren’t surprising since, “They pretty much hate America as we love it and they hate Israel,” Huckabee said. “They are antisemitic. They don’t want anything happening to the people of Iran.”

via MIke Huckabee talks Beth Moore, Christianity Today & Elite Evangelicals — Capstone Report